Monday, July 14, 2008

"America Has a Destiny: The Plymouth Story"

Randall Stephens of the Religion in U.S. History Blog has an interesting post in which he quotes fellow blogger, John Fea, on his views regarding Peter Marshall, David Manuel, and their book, The Light and the Glory. In the article, Fea is quoted as saying:

It is easy to understand why on the The Light and the Glory has had such staying power in the Evangelical world. While mainstream texts treat American history as if God did not exist, Marshall and Manuel offer a narrative of early American history focused on the sovereignty of God. The authors also tell their story in compelling prose. They occasionally inject their own voices into the narrative to explain how they crafted their argument through research and prayer...

Because Marshall and Manuel sought facts from history that seemed to fit their thesis, their narrative is dominated by the story of early New England. Jamestown is covered and dismissed in one chapter, and other colonies (such as William Penn’s experiment in Pennsylvania) and religious movements (such as the Baptists and Anglicans) that shaped early American life are ignored.
The posting then includes an "interesting" video that includes Marshall and Manuel's take on the Pilgrim settlement of Plymouth:

Yet another "Christian Nationalist" take on America's founding that completely tarnishes the true historical record.


Brad Hart said...

My favorite line is when Peter Marshall says:

"They had been terribly persecuted in England because they were Evangelical Christians."

And then there is the playing of Amazing Grace, which didn't appear until 100 years AFTER the "Pilgrims."

Thanks for posting this, Lindsey. Yet another example of good ol' fashioned Christian Nationalism at its best!

Brad Hart said...

And then there is the take on the Native Americans as being "God's miraculous provision."

Marshall telling the story of Squanto's kidnapping and the death of his entire tribe from disease as being a "providential" blessing is priceless!

Lindsey Shuman said...

I thought you might enjoy the video, Brad, as I am sure Jon and Ray will as well. =)

Eric Alan Isaacson said...

Any discussion of God's Providential Plan for the Pilgrims should include some mention that their congregation ultimately embraced an open-ended liberal theology, and that their First Parish Church in Plymouth is today affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

If the Pilgrim's church, "at the top of town square since 1620," is a theologoically liberal congregation, it should be noted that it suffered a schism when the "orthodox" left it in 1801 to form the Church of the Pilgrimage, whose structure stands next to the First Church in Plymouth. The Church of the Pilgrimage today is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, perhaps the most liberal of America's "mainline" denominations, whose ads were banned from the NBC and CBS network airwaves because they conflict with the Bush Administration's anti-gay policies.

Both of these congregations, that legitimately claim descent from the Mayflower Pilgrims, conduct weddings today for committed gay and lesbian couples.

Thus it is that God's Providential Plan unfolds.

bpabbott said...


Thanks for the links. I was unaware of the commercials you mention and have found the video of the ad, actually adds, here.

Regarding the role of the Bush Administration, can you provide evidence of such? ... perhaps NBC/CBS were concerned with alienating viewers of the particular sort?

While I'm convinced Bush qualifies as anti-gay (anti-liberty if you ask me) I'm not convinced that the commercial in question was suppressed by the administration.

Great sentiment in the commercial btw! Thanks again.

Eric Alan Isaacson said...

Hi Brad,

CBS sent the United Church of Christ a letter explaining that it would not run the ads because they conflicted with the Network's deference to the Bush Administration's anti-gay policies:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot "too controversial."

This is not to say that the Bush Administration actively intervened in the matter. I didn't have to. The networks themselves suppressed it as too controversial because it conflicted with what they understood to be "Executive Branch" objectives.

The networks are happy to let you run ads swiftboating liberals. But if you suggest your churches accept gays and lesbians your ads are banned as "too controversial" because the Bush administration is hostile to according full human rights to gay and lesbian people.